Take this infographic seriously, because it's really and truly the way 95% of forensic artists got in the field.
But….their full-time job isn’t as a forensic artist. They are “dual-duty” artists who do sketches in addition to their regular, full-time job in law enforcement (like police officer, dispatcher, evidence tech, etc). The exceptions to this are so rare, you will spend a lot of time, money, and frustration attempting to do it any other way.
You can’t get access to witnesses, evidence, and sensitive investigative information unless you’re employed by law enforcement. Period. And you can’t become a forensic artist (a good one, anyway) unless you have artistic skill. I’ll go into more depth about this elsewhere on this site, but these are the first three things that you will have to accept in order to have any shot at all.
Then, accept the reality that forensic art will probably not be your full-time job. There are only about 30 full-time forensic artists in the U.S., so snagging one of those positions is like winning the lottery. Easily 99% of the composite drawings and facial approximations you see have been done by “dual-duty” forensic artists; law enforcement personnel (police officers, dispatchers, administrative techs, etc) who work their regular job, then do the forensic art assignments as they are needed. Again, that’s just how it is.
But the good news is that it is very possible to become a forensic artist, you just need to know how to go about it. So while there are no guarantees to getting any job, especially in such a niche field like this, I think I’ve come up with a clear and concise path to follow here:
Ten Steps to Become a Forensic Artist.